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Supporting Desktop Applications : Repair a Corrupted Operating System (part 3) - Complete PC Backup and Restore

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3/20/2011 11:14:46 AM

Complete PC Backup and Restore

There is yet another option to protect your Windows Vista computer. You can perform a complete backup using Complete PC Backup. This feature grabs all the operating system and all the applications and all the user settings and all the user data—in one backup. Complete PC Backup is available only on Windows Vista Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions.

Complete PC Backup is an image-based backup tool. It does not just copy files. On the first backup, this feature copies all blocks that contain file content. When you run additional backups, it records only the blocks that have changed since the preceding complete backup, keeping the later backups fast and small.

Note

A Note About Complete PC Backup Complete PC Backup uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). This service must be running to perform a complete backup.


To locate Complete PC Backup, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup Status and Configuration, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8. Complete PC Backup.

You also can access Complete PC Backup in the Control Panel > System and Maintenance > Backup and Restore Center, as shown in Figure 9.

Figure 9. Another way to access Complete PC Backup.

Select the option Back Up Computer. You must be an administrator to use Complete PC Backup; the presence of a security shield indicates this requirement. Next, you need to select a location to back up to, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Selecting the target drive for the backup file.

You must have sufficient free space available on a local drive to hold all desired file content for the backup; otherwise, you need to back up to multiple DVDs. You can back up to locally connected USB external drives. This is a common approach. If you select a hard drive as the target for the backup, the drive must be formatted with NTFS. You cannot back up to any drives that are compressed using Windows compression.

By default, Vista includes the system disk in the backup, as you can see in Figure 11.

Figure 11. Selecting the content to be backed up.

You need to select any and all additional disks that you want included in the backup. Only volumes that are formatted with NTFS can be included in the complete backup.

Notice that disk information is provided so that you can confirm you have enough free disk space to perform the backup. Also notice that you cannot back up content that is on the drive where you are saving the backup. You are presented with a summary and confirmation dialog box, as shown in Figure 12, to initialize the backup procedure.

Figure 12. Confirming your backup settings.

Complete PC Restore

If all goes well, you’ll never have to use Complete PC Restore. But in the face of a disaster, you’ll be happy that you took the time to be prepared. Files can get corrupted; your computer can get infected with viruses, worms, and all sorts of malicious software; power problems can corrupt a system; or the hardware could simply fail. Portable devices can be lost or stolen.

You can restore the Complete PC Backup to the same computer or to a different computer if the original hardware is no longer available. Of course, the more alike the original and the new computer hardware are, the more likely the restore will be functional on the new computer hardware.

Alert

After using Complete PC Backup, you can use Complete PC Restore, either from within Vista if the computer is functional or by using the System Recovery Options menu after booting from the Vista installation media, as described earlier and shown in Figure 5.15.

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